Excavator purchase approved

MORRISBURG – South Dundas municipal staff has been trying for almost two years to finalize the purchase of a wheeled excavator that was first approved by council during the 2016 budget process.

Last week, they finally got the approval they need to actually purchase the machine.

As part of the fleet allocation in 2016, former director of public works Chris Bazinet included the excavator purchase in the fleet allocation, which council approved.

This purchase has always been meant to replace an unneeded backhoe with a machine is well suited to this municipality’s needs including ditching and water break repairs, thus allowing the municipality to reduce its annual contracting costs.

In July 2016, the purchase process was stalled by South Dundas mayor Evonne Delegarde and South Dundas councillors Bill Ewing and Marc St. Pierre, who all wanted more information.

In October 17, 2017, after the departure of Bazinet, operations supervisor Jeff Hyndman presented a report to council asking for approval to proceed with the already budgeted purchase, which was carried over from 2016. There was enough council support at that time to move forward a tender to determine pricing.

That tender came back in time for the December 5th council meeting, but it was pulled from the agenda last minute, so it was back at the December 19th meeting for council to discuss.

At the December 19th meeting Hyndman’s report recommending authorization of the purchase of a 2017 HW180 Hyundai rubber tire excavator in the amount of $197,500 from Agritibi RH Inc. re-appeared on the agenda.

This time it was accompanied by a report from the deputy treasurer showing the in-house cost of operating the excavator estimated at $65.76 per hour. The hourly rental rate from a contractor for a wheeled excavator is $130 per hour.

In reading resolution before the vote to approve the purchase, Mayor Delelgarde said, “I think we’ve beaten this one to death.”

“Are we going to have to hire another man,” asked Ewing?

Hyndman said they would not, explaining that the person who would normally be in the backhoe would instead be operating the excavator. “Actually, we will be increasing productivity,” he said explaining that the machine is larger and they will be able to work on the municipality’s schedule, rather than at the convenience of a contractor.

“I appreciate the report that shows it’s more economical to purchase this piece of equipment,” said St. Pierre.

“It will allow us to better maintain our roads. It’s a great asset,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Jim Locke.

“I support it 100 per cent. We’ll be able to do a lot more work,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan.

“We can’t expect staff to do the work without the proper equipment,” said Delegarde.